Primary School

Education in Clarendon started shortly after 1850 in a thatched roof slab built cottage on the site of the present Methodist Church. Mr. James Cowell, “one of the oldest licensed teachers in the State,” was the first teacher. Mr Thomas Daily taught from 1863 to 1874. By 1874 the District Council requested improved facilities.

In 1875 Clarendon was proclaimed a “school district” and the Clarendon Board of Advice was responsible for schools from Ashbourne through to O’Halloran Hill, Happy Valley and Cherry Gardens until 1915. Records show the school population had grown to 120 and new improved facilities were desperately needed. The stone building on Potter Road was built in 1885. John Stephens was the first headmaster in the new building.

Inspectors recorded many absences each time they visited. In one year typhoid fever was prevalent and parents kept their children home. On other occasions, farm work was given as a possible reason for high absences as there was plenty of work at harvest time. (There were many vegetable gardens and orchards in Clarendon).


Mr Alfred March taught from 1910 to 1928. He involved himself in many civic activities and clubs. “ His composite grades 4,5,6 & 7 consisted of about 60 children. As well as the lessons he taught, he also took gardening classes and sport, and often took the upper grade boys hiking on Saturdays.” (Memories of local resident Ted Webster).

The Welfare Club was officially formed in 1931, a new piano arrived in 1944, the library was opened in 1947 and the playground opened in 1949. In 1959 the bicycle shed was re-clad. A new portable building was completed in 1960 which meant the infant classes no longer needed to use the Community Hall nearby. A t.v. was purchased in 1969 and the phone was connected in 1970. The storage shed was erected in 1973 and in 1975 a staff room ‘demac’ was built. The office was previously the porch in the house which was used as a residence until 1980 when it became the Resource Centre.

(Facts from” A Century of Stone” A History of Clarendon Primary School 1885 – 1985.)

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The present (2014) principal is Josh Anderson